Firefighters have extinguished a second fire at the Ming Dih plastic and pellet factory in Bangkok, Thailand, according to Associated Press.
An initial explosion on 5 July 2021 and subsequent fire in a styrene monomer tank took more than 24 hours to put out and destroyed much of the factory. One 18-year-old volunteer firefighter was killed and more than 60 people were injured, with 30 hospitalised. Firefighters continued to douse the area with foam and water to cool it, but their efforts failed to prevent reignition of the styrene on 6 July. The second fire burned for around an hour before being extinguished again.
It is still unclear what caused the initial explosion but Chumpol Poompuang, the district’s police commander, told AP that the factory manager said that he and eight other staff members had been woken by a strong chemical smell and fled the site before the blast.
The Thai authorities are now monitoring air and water quality in the area. Thailand’s prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has ordered investigations into possible contamination of soil, groundwater, drinking water and air as he seeks to mitigate short- and long-term health impacts.
Residents in 5 km zone around the factory were evacuated, but the authorities may allow some in the outer areas of the evacuation zone to return.